Saturday, December 22, 2007

What's My Name?

It was the annual holiday party for some families served by Laurel Advocacy and Referral Services (LARS), a local non-profit that works with the poor in our community. The party is given by the staff of PNC Bank. So there we were--well-meaning middle-class white and African-American men and women with a roomful of kids and their parents. The kids were mostly African-American, plus a smattering of whites and Hispanics.

Santa, a late-middle-aged white male recently retired from the bank, was making his way to his chair to give out the gifts, already worried about messing up the pronunciation of some of the wildly unfamiliar names. He was cornered by a lively seven-year-old boy who asked, "Who am I?" Santa blanched a bit beneath his beard and then boomed out, "Oh, I know who you are!" The kid persisted, "Yeah, but what's my NAME?" Santa scanned the room in a panic. Someone silently mouthed the kid's name. Fortunately for Santa, it was an easy one. "Quan!" said Santa. The kid beamed. "Yes!" He high-fived Santa.

Friday, December 14, 2007

Assisted Living

It's gotten to be too much. Today I'll look for an Assisted Living facility.

For me. Not for mom. She's 98 and feisty as the devil.

It'll be wonderful. Someone else will do the cooking. I'll eat in the big dining room at an assigned table. I'll start with the ice cream and ignore the vegetables. Even if one of my dining companions drools, it's all good.

I'll go to crafts class. I'll make a wreath of green construction paper, old cut-up Christmas cards, and red ribbon. I'll taste the glue if I want to.

I'll commandeer the remote in the Big Room and watch Project Runway and Real Housewives of Orange County.

A choir from some church will come to sing carols. They'll bring cookies. Since I can see better and am fleeter of foot than most of my buddies, I'll reach the table first and grab four homemade sugar cookies with green icing and red sugar. If a staff person tries to distract me with a cup of punch, I'll take it, but when she's not looking, I'll be back for more.

I'll go to bed at 9 PM and fall to sleep immediately, despite my roommate's snoring.

Heavenly peace.

Wednesday, December 5, 2007

Wreath of Wrath

When Mom first moved to Merlin, she had lots of ideas about the Way Things Should Be at our house. She told me that I was to hang her "lovely" wreath on our front porch at Christmas. Being afeared of the woman, I heard and obeyed. Wound around her wreath were at least 4 strings of white mini-lights. It hadn't come that way; Mom had "improved" the wreath by adding string upon string. Trouble was, one of the middle strings had burned out. So I began the tedious chore of unwrapping the tangled mess, only to have the underlying styrofoam start crumbling in my hands! Whoa! What to do? I rushed out and bought a new wreath with a normal number of lights. Mom eyed the new wreath suspiciously. Even with failing eyesight, she KNEW. "That's NOT my wreath," she told our daughter. "What has she done with my beautiful wreath?"